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Interesting--a similar (or the same) book, College Writing Skills 6th
edition on their U.S. site, advertises the book in this way, deleting
the bit about the 5-paragraph essay entirely:

"Highly regarded and used by countless students, this effective
rhetoric/handbook/reader is ideal for writing courses that focus on the
essay. The sixth edition features Langan's renowned clear writing style
and a wide range of writing assignments and activities that reinforce
the four essentials of good writing: unity, support, coherence, and
sentence skills. College Writing Skills with Readings comes packaged
with a free student CD-ROM, a free registration card for access to the
Online Learning Center, and a free user's guide to help students gain
the maximum benefit from the text and electronic materials."

Jennifer Clary-Lemon


-----Original Message-----
From: CASLL/Inkshed [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Katharine Patterson
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Five paragraphs and other rigidities

As evidence of the longevity of the shelf life of the 5 paragraph essay
and 
its apparent usefulness, I submit this exerpt from an advertisement 
received this morning from McGraw-Hill Ryerson:


College Writing Skills with Readings Fourth Canadian Edition will help 
students master the traditional five-paragraph essay and variations on
this 
essay structure. It is a very practical book with a number of special 
features to aid instructors and their students.

Four principles are presented as keys to effective writing - unity, 
support, coherence, and effective sentence skills. Activities and 
assignments are numerous and varied; nearly two hundred activities and 
tests are included. The emphasis on logic and the pursuit of ideas and 
explanations in a sequential manner starts in the first chapter.

Students are introduced to the two principles that are the basis of
clear 
thinking and writing; making a point and providing support to back up
that 
point.

Katharine




At 09:16 AM 10/27/2005, you wrote:
>Sandy Dorley wrote:
>
>>Before we dismiss it out of hand,  there is a time and a place for
>>such structures as the 5 paragraph theme.  The problem is not that
>>they exist--they are quite useful in some cases with novice writers
>>and simple subjects.  The problem is that they have a limited shelf
>>life.
>
>And I have to agree with this, wholeheartedly.  The history of the
>five-paragraph essay suggests that like the New Criticism in literary
>studies, it fit the post-WWII need for a simple teaching model with
>distinct rules and expectations.  Novice teachers could be rapidly
>"trained" and given a set of marking criteria.  The history to this
>is, I believe, fairly well documented in the American comp curricula.
>
>I found the five-paragraph essay quite effective in Detroit's urban
>middle schools, where I first became aware of its teaching.  But in
>that setting, as well as in Adult Basic Education in British Columbia
>-- a spread of settings that would seem to make a world of difference
>-- I found the continuance of the five paragraph form to be an
>impediment specifically among those who had been judged as
>inarticulate by its criteria.
>
>In Detroit, the prevalence of strong home languages and communication
>styles, especially those which were driven by example, interfered
>with what the students saw as the relatively dry expectations of the
>form.  Surprisingly, among both the First Nations and non-First
>Nations adult learners I've encountered in three years of teaching in
>BC, the same effect showed through.  Students with rich life
>experiences to share and a significant grasp of rhetorical strategies
>in verbal environments ran up against the same internalized demon of
>what "good writing" meant.  And it simply wasn't big enough to "fit"
>their story.
>
>Arguments about immersion in a culture of literacy aside, I found
>that once students "learn" that one style is the expected style, they
>chafe against its constraints at the same time they continue to judge
>their own writing as inadequate by its parameters.
>
>In short, I found that those who felt -- or who had been told -- that
>their writing did not live up to the expectations of this form
>(whatever the particulars of the form might be -- number of
>paragraphs, use of "I", whatever) managed to internalize the form,
>and its constraints, far more than those who felt -- or who had been
>told -- that they were good writers.  The self-identified "good
>writers" already knew that the five paragraph form was just one
>style, did not need to be taught that speeches, magazine articles,
>book reviews and research papers did not necessarily all follow this
>model.  The writers who struggled against the formal constraints had
>to be reminded to try other styles, and to look towards other writing
>models.
>
>As long as the five-paragraph model is offered only as a style -- as
>one pattern in a rich field of writing technique -- then it certainly
>has credible teaching merit.  But at least in the US, it feels that
>thirty years of Composition work (roughly since the early '70s
>publication of a Student's Right to Speak) have largely been directed
>at undoing the historical damage of the mass post-WWII training in
>(and resultant monoculture of) the five paragraph form.
>
>Cheers,
>-marc c.
>
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